School’s letting out across the nation, and for kids, that means a summer of camp and days outdoors are about to begin; for college students, exciting internships and/or new paying jobs are a breeze away; and for networks, specifically NBC Universal, the summer is just a chunk of time to get out of the way and move on to the real excitement: fall.
NBC, for the first time in the last couple of years, is seeing itself as a force in the TV world against the likes of hefty rivals like CBS. Executives at the network made clear that every piece moved in the winter season was a means to a glorious end, each pilot order and existing show reconfigured accumulating to create one solid lineup for the fall.
“For the first time in a while we’re not throwing shows up against the wall and hoping for the best,” said NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt in a phone call with Variety. “We’ve got some great anchors and hits that have solidified over the past year or two, and a plethora of great development.”
NBC spent the winter going the way of the seasons, dwindling down to a barren landscape until it grow again. Beginning the rebirth of the network will be the Summer Olympics–which, yes, do technically count as summer programming rather than fall. However, the Olympics will flood NBC with worldwide viewership, the events being an international draw despite funding issues these particular ones have been having.
Throughout this period of time when the eyes of the world–and more importantly, the US–will be upon them, NBC will be able to throw an onslaught of advertising for its new and returning shows towards viewers. The global spectacular will conclude towards the end of summer, in the dusk of August, and by then, the idea would be that the advertised programming will at least stick with some, and almost all of it will be about the fall Thursday night lineup.
That’s right; NBC’s trying to revitalize the robust Thursday night it used to have with its triad of Community, The Office, and Parks and Recreation. Ever since all three of those shows ended, NBC’s ratings have slid right into CBS’s hands, what with its dual powerhouses in The Big Bang Theory and Thursday Night Football. Last year, NBC rudely discovered that their answer to solving Thursday nights was not in drama; the premiere of grocery-store comedy Superstore gave the network the burst in attention that NBC was craving for.
This year, Superstore, with its stars America Ferrera and Ben Feldman, will air first in the lineup, followed by new comedy The Good Place. The reason being is that the show is one that “we [at NBC] love and believe in,” according to Greenblatt.
Following The Good Place on Thursday nights will be another member of the Chicago-based hits, Chicago Med (which shows NBC’s still sticking to the dramas that work), with still-popular hit The Blacklist closing it out at 10pm.
Tuesdays still mostly belong to The Voice, which never fails to pull in viewership for NBC. It’ll share time on Monday as well with the newly-ordered Timeless. The time-travel action series draws from the minds of former Supernatural show-runner Eric Kripke and The Shield’s Shawn Ryan, and even without the legacy of two major television hits within the show-runners themselves, Timeless has a very good chance of succeeding. The 10pm slot on Mondays used to belong to Blindspot, which thanks to its success there has now rocketed to Wednesdays on NBC.
Friday nights will be devoted to the gotcha! project from Nick Cannon, called Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon, which is only the beginning of a new era of reality TV at NBC. Quickly following the end of Sunday Night Football at NBC, the new incarnation of Celebrity Apprentice is set to begin with Arnold Schwarzenegger as host (the former host is indisposed at the moment).
Overall, it seems that NBC is coming into the new TV cycle with its guns blazing and new shows gleaming. Your move, CBS.